The Pennsylvania Attorney General has filed lawsuits against two companies that are alleged to be operating electricity market pyramid selling schemes in the state. The two companies are Harrisburg based Boston-Finney Trust and Utah-based Nu Skin International Inc.

In the Boston-Finney case, the Attorney General, Mike Fisher, has charged the company with operating a pyramid scheme re-selling electricity, natural gas and energy conservation products. It is believed that as many as 8000 people across the USA have taken part in the scheme, which involves paying up to $299 to join. Those who join are then allowed to recruit new members, taking a share of their joining fee.

Nu Skin International, meanwhile, has agreed to suspend its operations in Pennsylvania for 30 days, Dow Jones reports. The Attorney General said investigators had produced evidence that Nu Skin was profiting from an initiation fee collected from prospective power product distributors, even though the company does not have the means to deliver energy.

Boston-Finney has also fallen foul of the California Public Utilities Commission which has revoked its electricity market registration. The company had been permitted to do business in the new electricity market in the state. Boston-Finney could be liable to a fine of $97 million in California, $20 000 for each sales agent it has signed up.

In California, a third firm, FutureNet Inc. has won a temporary reprieve from an injunction freezing its assets and stopping it from marketing electricity. The injunction was lifted until a hearing could take place to examine the company’s business practices.

However, the company is still not allowed to collect fees or applications for distributorships to sell electricity and Internet products.